Monday, January 18, 2016

Timing Market Tops and Bottoms in Gold and Silver

 I would like to tell you about a proprietary indicator that I use in the precious metals market. Take a look at the chart below which shows the indicator against the price of silver (in green) since 1967.


The graph shows the leverage that silver achieved over gold over a rolling four-year basis. I have addressed the subject of the gold-silver leverage ratio in previous articles, but this indicator uses a different approach to calculating the relationship between gold and silver prices. Note that this chart peaks on various major occasions in the last 48 years.

The first of those peaks is near the top of the 1968 "Johnson" spike when silver doubled in price after the USA government went off silver coinage. The second is near the well-known 1980 "Hunt" spike. The third is near the 1998 "Buffett" spike when Warren Buffett purchased nearly 130 million ounces of silver. Finally, two more peaks occur near the February 2007 peak and the April 2011 peak at $50.

Three false peaks occurred in January 1970, July 1976 and December 2012, and I say “false” because one would have exited silver for other reasons before then. Or one could take the view they were final warnings to get out!

Each time that the four-year leverage breached our sell threshold, that particular bull market was over for a number of years. No matter how high the price was or how long it took to get there, the leverage number peaked just above the 1.50 level. Our thesis is therefore simple; sell silver and gold when this rare threshold is entered. What is the reasoning behind this indicator? There are four pillars to this theory:

1. In a precious metals bull market, silver will tend to outperform gold.
2. However, there is a limit to which this silver out performance can go.
3. This limit is hit at the top of major silver bull markets.
4. The reaching of this silver limit tends to also be the end of the corresponding gold bull market.

For example, back testing this indicator, you would have got out 3% below the top price of the 1968 peak, 12% below the 1980 peak, 6% below the 1998 peak and 3% below the 2011 peak. Using price per ounce numbers, this indicator flagged a sell five days after the 1980 silver bull peaked for a closing exit price of $37 as opposed to the closing $42 on the 21st January 1980. Sad to say, the majority failed to get out at such a high point.

Based on 48 years of historical data, We believe this indicator is useful in determining silver and gold tops. However, the next major top in silver seems a long way off, but at the other business end of the chart, we see that the indicator is at a low which has only been seen twice before in 1972 and 1984. One of these triggered before the greatest silver bull market ever and the other triggered at the other side of it as silver was obliterated during the disinflation of the 1980s.

What multiyear move in silver does this major low presage? My money is on a major move up in silver into next decade.


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